PKAL Volume IV: What Works, What Matters, What Lasts
Student Learning Goals
April 20, 2007
Focusing on student learning is a hallmark of 21st century education, within and beyond STEM fields.
Leaders intent on making the case for why change? can base their arguments on the prevalence of attention to student learning evident in contemporary reports from many and diverse sources, including:
- from the business community and from professional, educational associations and societies that are putting forward higher-level goals for 21st century learners that reflect the time-honored goals for liberal learning, as well as respond to the changing societal context
- from STEM disciplinary and interdisciplinary communities that convey a more precise set of learning goals in relation to the distinct scope of their field, its history and future
- from the pedagogical pioneers, assessment experts, and cognitive scientists whose work is contributing to an understanding what works, why, and for which students in the context of how people learn (HPL)
- from colleges and universities tackling opportunities to strengthen student learning, taking care to set student learning goals at the institutional level, develop programs and spaces that serve those learning goals, and assess if/how those goals are being addressed by faculty, individually and collectively.
Among the many ‘aha' insights about student learning goals from examining these various reports is the consistency of visions, even given the wide-ranging perspectives and expertise of the authoring group. This should not be surprising; all are concerned about– and/or working with– the same undergraduate student population in American colleges and universities. All are equally concerned about the increasing urgency to shape a nation of learners and innovators that is sustainable over the long-term. All are concerned about education in the service of the nation.
Sessions at the 2007 PKAL Summer Institute will offer significant opportunities for participants (as individuals or institutional teams) to explore the substance of such reports. The intent is for all participants to determine how the recommendations, lessons learned, and/or best practices described in such reports can serve as a road-map for their efforts to build and sustain a robust STEM learning environment within their campus community.